Stem cells offer the distinct prospect of changing the face of human medicine. However, although they have potential to form different tissues, are still in the early stages of development as therapeutic interventions. The three most used stem cell sources are umbilical cord blood, bone marrow and human embryos. Whilst, cord blood is now used to treat over 70 disorders, at the time of writing this manuscript, not a single disease has been overcome or ameliorated using human embryonic stem cells. Advancing stem cell medicine requires ethically sound and scientifically robust models to develop tomorrow's medicines. Media attention, however, distracts from this reality; it is important to remember that stem cells are a new visitor to the medical world and require more research. Here we describe the utility of human cord blood to develop neural models that are necessary to take stem cells to the next level ? into human therapies.